Charity gets £100,000 to help families grow fruit and veg

This seems like a great idea.

The article was just posted in the Northern Echo:

A CHARITY has been given almost £100,000 to help disadvantaged families learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

OASES (Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists) was given the grant to help it deliver four Growing Together clubs around County Durham.

Clare Garnham, OASES co-ordinator said: “We’re really pleased to have been awarded with funding to continue our work with children and their families.

“With this we’ll be able to encourage more families to grow their own produce and put more vegetables onto the plates of children and young people across County Durham.”

It seems nowadays, that too few people know where their fruits and vegetables come from.  They also don’t know what it takes to grow edible delicious food.

We are so fortunate to have such an abundance of fruit and vegetables all around us. Yet it seems that people can’t see the fruit for the trees.

I hear so many complaints about the quality of fruit in the UK or in supermarkets.  Some people even say they find it hard to get fruit in the UK.

I have no idea what country they are living in, because for me we have fruit available 24/7.  Of course you need to learn how to pick the good stuff but that doesn’t take long to learn.

Planting fruit trees can teach you a lot about life….


You need to find good soil with exposure to sunlight so that the tree has a chance to flourish and grow

You need to have good seed or a good root stock.

You need to give it plenty of time to grow.

You have to allow the time for it to create a good strong foundation.

Gradually the tree will grow and get stronger and slowly it will start to produce fruit.

Eventually, there will be too much fruit for you to handle!

There are two great quotes about fruit trees that I love….

The first is:

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is today!”

The other is:

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

Stay fruity and plant some trees!





Strawberries Top The Dirty Dozen List

A recent CNN article states:

“Strawberries again top 2018’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ fruits and veggies”

It goes on to say:

When testing samples, the USDA personnel wash or peel produce to mimic consumer practices.
A single sample of strawberries showed 20 pesticides, the report indicated.
More than 98% of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. And, on average, spinach samples had 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

Spinach is the second dirtiest item on the “Dirty Dozen” list, followed by (in order of contamination) nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Each of these foods tested positive for pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.

Should We Be Worried About Conventional Produce?

For a start, this is information from the US.  The practices there are different from Europe and they allow substances to be used which are not allowed in Europe.

But the real elephant in the room is this:

Why are we focused on the pesticides in fruit and vegetables only?

Why are we not coming out with a list of the most contaminated fish, chicken, eggs, milk or meat?

You see, the highest concentrations of pesticides occur higher up in the food chain.

Why is this?

Because cattle are eating food that has been treated with pesticide.  Then that pesticide gathers in the tissue of the animal.  It becomes super concentrated.

But you don’t hear people worrying about the pesticides in the meat they eat?

Meat Has The Highest Pesticide Concentration Of All Food Groups

Vegetarian women were found to have lower levels of pesticides in their breast milk than the average meat-eating woman.

Here is a video about this fact:

A little story…

I had a friend one time who I offered some Strawberries to.  He asked if they were organic and seemed very hesitant to eat them if they were not.

In my mind, I wondered if he ever asked the Indian takeaway that he frequented whether all of their food was organic.  Or the processed microwave meals he ate, or the 2 litre bottle of Pepsi.

People hold fruit to a higher level of scrutiny than other foods

Why exactly is this?  Probably because people are not addicted to fruit.  They are not desperate to eat it, but really they should be.

Personally, I don’t worry about the pesticides in fruit.  That may be controversial, but I just don’t see people suffering from pesticide-related issues.

Pesticides are not making people fat, giving them heart disease or diabetes. 

Also, the benefits of eating fruit may outweigh any risk of pesticides.

Partly, that is because plant foods, in general, have the least concentration of pesticides.  But also may be to do with phytonutrients in plant foods having a mitigating effect on the toxic effect of pesticides.

Here is a video from Dr Michael Greger from






Are You Like Joni Mitchell?

Joni Mitchell once sang:

“Hey farmer farmer, Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples, But leave me the birds and the bees

Sorry Joni, It seems, in general, most people don’t want spots on their apples.

For fruit to sell in the supermarkets it has to look immaculate, no blemishes whatsoever and perfectly shaped.

Which you might think strange, as really it should be the taste that is most important.

But it’s perfectly natural for us to find the fruit with the least marks, bruises or blemishes as that could be a sign of alien invaders eating into the fruit.

We are very fastidious when it come to our food.  People check their food to make sure their are no little surprises lurking within and many people are obsessed with cleaning their food and their utensils.

This has led to millions of tonnes of fruit being thrown away because it is not the right shape, size or colour.  This despite the fact that in some parts of the world people live in malnutrition and poverty.

Morrisons have just come out to say they will be selling more “wonky” i.e misshapen fruit.

Is this a sign that people are finally accepting that fruit doesn’t have to look perfect to taste great?

If it is, then this is a good thing.  Less fruit will be thrown away and there will be more of an emphasis on taste rather than appearance.  Substance OVER style if you will.

At Fruitfest we always strive to select food based on what tastes best.

That is generally, the fruit which is most in season at that time, hitting peak ripeness and flavour.

Historically, we have not been able to source a 100% organic source of fruit for the festival.  As far as I am aware (correct me if I am wrong) there is no 100% organic wholesaler of fruits and vegetables in the UK.

The closest one I believe is either in Paris or the Netherlands.  Having tried to order organic fruit from Paris in the past I wasn’t impressed by the service, or the inconsistency in what I ordered versus what actually turned up.

If you want more organic fruit to be available, or more wonky fruit, you must choose to vote with your wallet and choose organic.

For me, I must honestly say, I rarely look for the organic sign anymore.  I just look for what looks like it tastes the best.

Maybe that is something I need to work on, but from a health perspective, I know that the benefits of eating raw fruits and vegetables far outweigh the unknown risks of trace amounts of pesticide on our food.

Many people hold fruits and vegetables to a higher standard than other foods.

Let me explain with a story:

I once offered a friend some strawberries.  He looked at them sceptically, and looked up at me asking “are these organic?”

I doubt he asked if the 2 litre bottle of Pepsi he regularly drank was made from all organic ingredients.  Or when he gorged on Indian curries at his local takeaway, I never heard him ask if the food was organic then.

But fruit?

No, that’s dangerous!

The truth is that the foods with the highest concentration are those higher up in the food chain….i.e. animal flesh.  The toxins that the cow takes in from eating corn or soya beans that have been treated with pesticides become concentrated in their flesh.

If pesticides are causing health issues, it is more likely to happen to meat eaters than fruitarians.

Enjoy your fruit without fear!

As for organic fruits and vegetables, I had a look into this as someone said to me “organic fruit gets sprayed EVEN MORE than conventional”.

Some of these myths get bandied about too.

In the UK, a limited list of substances are allowed to be used as pesticides (you can check the list out at the Soil Association site).  Most of these are “natural” pesticides.  For example clove oil can be used as a pesticide.  Whether that is better for our health I don’t quite know but it is better for the environment it would seem.

Joni Mitchell also sang:

We’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

Parking lots, roads, buildings, cities take up a very small space on our planet.  In reality we have cut down the forests, drained the swamps and dug up the plants to make way for pasture land for cattle or to plan the foods that we feed to the cattle.

By changing the world to vegan and eventually fruitarian we can recreate paradise.

We can plant the trees again and live in more harmony with nature.  Fruit is the most efficient yielding crop, we can reduce the amount of land we require hugely by eating more fruit.

We’ve got a long way to go, but if you want to be part of the movement come along to Fruitfest 2018.